The Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) was delighted to provide the production kitchen for the Calgary’s first Feeding the 5000 event, which was held June 15, 2017 in Olympic Park.
Originating in London, England, Feeding the 5000 has been hosted in cities around the globe with the goal of serving 5,000 people lunch with perfectly edible food that has been rejected by the food service industry, primarily because of its looks.
The inaugural Calgary edition was headed by local chef Andrew Hewson, an instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technoloy (SAIT), who teamed up with LeftOvers Calgary, the Calgary Regional Partnership and the Recycling Council of Alberta.
Hewson reports that there’s no lack of food waste, so sourcing the ingredients was the easy part of pulling off the event. He tapped into his local culinary connections to rescue food deemed unusable by growers, grocers and restaurants, and soon had ingredients—oddly-shaped peppers, potatoes with sprouts, bread and dairy nearing their expiry dates and more—for the meal.
The challenge was finding a venue to prepare and cook the meal, which would be served to 5,000 Calgarians at Olympic Plaza. The restaurants surrounding the Plaza didn’t have large enough kitchens. Fortunately, the production kitchen at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, which is located just half a block away, was available.
“It was like hitting a gold mine, this place [the CTCC kitchen] was the best case scenario for the event,” said Hewson.
Local collaboration made the event possible. With the CTCC opening its kitchen doors, the organizers had a place to cook, mash and whip their concept into a luncheon for 5,000.
A team of volunteers from SAIT, Joey’s Restaurant Group, Ethnicity Catering and the Hyatt Regency sorted, washed, chopped and cooked the rescued food, transforming it into a fresh, locally-sourced and zero-waste lunch.
The total cost of Feeding the 5000 in Calgary? A mere $380 for spices, herbs and oils.
FEEDING THE 5000
Created by FeedbackGlobal.org, Feeding the 5000 events shine a light on the global food waste scandal, champion the delicious solutions and act as a catalyst for the global movement. At each event, organizers serve up a delicious communal feast for 5000 people made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been wasted. Each event brings together a coalition of organisations that offer solutions to food waste, put the issue on political agendas, raise consumer and media awareness, and inspire local initiatives. The first Feeding the 5000 event was held in London, England in 2009.